Thursday, October 13, 2016

Homemade Christmas: Bath Salt Scrubs

Giving homemade bath products is always a welcome gift, especially if yours smells as wonderful as mine!  The recipe is traditional, but the scent combinations aren't.  This is where you are really going to shine!

My recipe is very simple:

1 c Epsom salts (or sea salts, the larger pellet)
1/4 c almond oil
1/4 coconut oil
15 drops of Essential Oils

(jojoba, olive, grapeseed oils all work well, too)

Place in a glass bowl.  Combine together until Essential Oils and mixed through.  This makes 1 gift.

Combinations of oils that will rock your gift:

Relaxing Combinations

lavender (all 15 drops!)
chamomile and lavender (8 and 7, respectfully)

For Energy

Peppermint and Lemon (8, 7)
Rosemary and Wild Orange (8, 7)
Rosemary and Grapefruit (8, 7)

For Cheer

Sage and Orange (7 and 7)

For Clarity

Rosemary, Lemon and Cypress (5 each)

I save pretty clear jars all year around. I love putting the mixture in different jars and tying them up with yarn, ribbon, twine or colored rubber bands.  I also like making tags for these gifts, like the ones here and here.  I did kind of cheat on this jar, as it was a gift of bath salts to me!

This is a perfect gift for grandmothers and aunts, and men who need a little skin softening!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Homemade Christmas: Tea Mugs

I first saw these delightful personalized mugs at a craft show last year.  I asked the crafter if they were easy to make, and she sheepishly said, yes, they really are.  

She gave me these super simple directions:

1. Wash the mugs thoroughly.
2. Create your design using the best oil based Sharpies you can find.
3. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Let cool before handling.

It is super important to use the best oil based markers you can find.  I recommend NOT washing them in the dishwasher, especially with the soaps that have the stain power boosting cleanser in them.

Package these adorable mugs with your favorite tea.  Mine is this amazing wild harvested camomile tea from Canada. 

While these are tea mugs, I want to make some coffee mugs with these sayings:

1.  There's a slight chance that this is wine.
2.  If you can't say something nice...we should probably be friends.
3.  I love you a latte.

Another Christmas gift, handmade and fun, right from your heart!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Homemade Christmas: Knit Hats

When I was much younger, I would always get a Christmas gift that my grandmothers or aunts made for me. I really loved those gifts, even at a young age I appreciated the efforts that these lovely ladies made for me. I remember getting a Raggedy Ann doll, a sock monkey, an apron, and a few pieces of clothing. How I wish I still had even one of those gifts now!

In order to have homemade gifts to give away, you have to do some planning. That is why I am pleased to share with you this ebook on knitting hats. Each one of these lovely creations is done on large needles, with big yarn and work up quickly. These patterns are all created by Evelyne, who is an accomplished knitter. She has a Facebook Group where you can connect with her!

To get this patterns, click here. You will be taken to a checkout page.  The book features six original patterns and clear directions for making each one. Knitting patterns go for around $4 each in Etsy (ranging from $3-$7) so six patterns at $8 is a steal! You will also be supporting an artist with her craft, something we should all do more of!

The patterns are easy enough for beginners.  Being made with large needles and large yarn make the projects go quickly so you can see success quickly.  Evelyne has thought these patterns through so that you will be happy with your work!

And guess what!  Christmas Tree Lane readers can get 40% off using this link for Super Duper Knit Hats for Beginners until October 30!  What a great deal!  Hurry up and get this fantastic pattern while it's on sale!!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The 2016 Christmas Season has Begun!

I am so excited for this season of Christmas. Christmas is a time for family, friends and neighbors. I am looking forward to creating and doing more fun things this year!

90 Days until Christmas

I making a lot of changes where it concerns my extended families.  It will be hard to cut back on some of the travel and traditions that have been going on for years, but there comes a time when, if you don't feel your efforts are valued, that you should step back and reevaluate.  I did that this past year and am letting go of some of the traditions that I loved, but not really valued by others.

That means more of my time and resources will be available for those who do value the same things I do!  I'm looking forward to doing more things for my neighbors and friends!  New traditions, maybe? Or just an opportunity to show my gratitude for those around me?  I don't know yet, but I am looking forward to finding out!

This blog is active during the September, October, November and December months, with a couple of January posts and Christmas in July posts.  This lets me really focus on the holiday season and to try to make things as practical as possible.

So what am I doing in September?

I am working on ornaments!  I have already commissioned ornaments for my GLU girlfriends (we go way back to sending ornaments to each other for over fifteen years, I believe!  They have been packed up and sent to the organizer, who will repack and send ornaments in time for us to have them for holiday decorating after Thanksgiving.  I will post when I get "the box" as it is always so much fun to see what everyone is doing!

I am also making these dip ornaments for my cookie exchange guests.  I made them a couple of years ago but I just have to do them again!  They were so fun and everyone loved the dip mix!  Click on the link for the recipe and directions.

Dip ornaments

I found the ornaments at Dollar Tree, 2 for $1, which is the cheapest I have ever purchased them, even with a coupon from my favorite craft store.  Get them while you can!

I am also shopping the stores that have some items out for Christmas.  Beating the rush, so to speak! I have a darling ceramic Christmas tree, about 8" high that I am eager to display, plus I found some battery operated mini lights that I think I will use in a wreath.  I'm also picking up some battery operated candles while the getting is good!

What are you doing now to prepare for your holidays?  

Monday, July 25, 2016

Christmas in July

It's July and that means one thing to all Christmas lovers: it's time to get our Christmas on!  Today is a special day to Christmas fans, as it is the 25th of the month which we lovingly call Rudolph Day.  Rudolph Day AND Christmas in July???  This is the stuff that heaven is made of!

So to start my day I am trying out a possible Christmas morning breakfast casserole.  I made this for my DAR ladies group and it was so successful that I am thinking of doing it for my family.  I called it my Easter Morning Breakfast Casserole and it is full of yummy goodness like blueberries, croissants and a vanilla custard.  That, along with Christmas Mimosas and Oven Fried Candied Bacon will be our breakfast treat.

Cookies from Christmas 2015
After breakfast and clean up I am going to be working on my Christmas cards through a fantastic product called Paperless Post.  Have you heard of them?  They are an on-line invitation service that also has paper products as well.  You need to check them out.  I love that there are filters to help narrow your selection.  I can get overwhelmed by the choices so this really helps.

The website is so easy to use!  Plus, you can see what your cards will look like before you buy
and, there are a lot of editing options.  Super neat site.
I will also spend some time on our Christmas blog, writing up the first half of the year.  Here are our Christmas blogs since I started doing them years ago!

I'll work on these two projects until lunch, where I plan to try a couple of appetizers that I want to serve on Christmas Eve.  Our Christmas Eve is always games and apps and cocktails, getting ready for Santa to come!  The appetizers I am trying are these Cheesy Meatball Bites and this Baked Brie with Wine Soaked Blackberries.  Yum!

After lunch I plan to relax with a Christmas movie and a cup of hot cocoa.  I can drink hot chocolate anytime of the year, and I always have a stash ready for rainy days.  This year I plan to put roasted marshmallows on top, as a nod to summer.

I hope your CIJ is fantastic!  I'd love to hear about your plans in the comments!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Happy Leon Day!

I learned about Leon Day last year and now it marks the beginning of our Christmas season at our house.  Even my husband "gets it" after 39 years of marriage.  He was actually discussing holiday plans with me this morning!

For those new to Leon Day, it is the halfway point to Christmas and a day for crafters to get out their glue guns and start getting ready for the holiday season!  Every one I know celebrates differently!

For me, it is a day with holiday music, this year it is the Charlie Brown Christmas album, a snack (see below) Frozen Hot Chocolate like last year, and a start to the holiday planning.  For example, I will be making Facebook invites to Thanksgiving and Christmas to share with my mom's side of the family.  Bob and I are going to travel, so we are making some plans for that as well.

I am in a group of (fabulous) ladies that have made ornaments for each other for MANY years.  Is it 15 this year, gals?  I am going to have to think of my ornament and start making it.  These are a secret until reveal day, so I can't even share a little bit with you about it, you'll have to check back to see what I make!

I save ideas all year on Pinterest.  Check out my boards.  Lots of great ideas there to share!

I've pre-ordered my Christmas reads from Amazon.  These look amazing and are by my favorite authors.  One was released earlier this month and I am starting it today!

Here's my treat for today:

12 cherries, large
1 white chocolate bar, 8 oz.
1/4 c walnuts, chopped fine

Wash and dry cherries.  Melt white chocolate in 30 second intervals, stirring between.  Dip dried cherries into chocolate, roll in finely chopped walnuts.  Let set up.

Of course, you can use more cherries as needed.  a pound of cherries needs 2 c of white chocolate morsels.  You can use grapes and peanuts, too!

What are your Leon Day plans?  Let's share them in the comments!  Let me know if you have a Leon Day post, too!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

I sat down with this book and couldn't stop reading until I was finished! 

Joy, an 80 year old woman, is ready to take the trip of a lifetime in her old RV as she heads toward retirement.  Along the way Joy plans to share Christmas love and cheer to needy people along the way. Miranda, her neighbor,  is a perfect companion given her single statue, this trip really breathes new hope and joy for her. 

The RV is decorated for Christmas and the sight of it along the highway brings happiness to all who see it.  They go about the business of spreading Christmas gifts to families along the way to Albuquerque.  Joy begins to have heart pains, and then the journey takes an unexpected twist.

You'll have to read it to learn the rest.  The book is a perfect Christmas read.